No development on the Hippo Spirit fertilizer dispute

Cargo ship Hippo Spirit (IMO 9135523), carrying 20,000mt of Chinese organic fertilizer to Sri Lanka, remains at rest in Sri Lankan waters and looks to remain so in the near future, as no amicable solution seemed to have been reached between the importer and supplier on the quality of organic fertilizer.

It was currently located in the southeast part of the sea of Sri Lanka, 12nm offshore.

The Agriculture Ministry rejected the Chinese fertilizer and went to the extent of issuing an order to deny entry to ships carrying the consignment from entering Sri Lankan ports. Qingdao’s Seawin Biotech Group has requested Sri Lanka to test the organic fertilizer with the Swiss SGS Group and has said that, if bacteria were found the supplier would unconditionally transport the cargo back. The Commercial High Court in Colombo has extended the interim order until November 30th, preventing the People’s Bank of Sri Lanka from making the Letters of Credit (LoC) payment to Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd.

The ship had left Qingdao, China, on September 21st, destination Colombo, Sri Lanka. However, after it was confirmed that the stock on board the ship contained “hazardous bacteria”, the Sri Lankan government decided to suspend the import of fertilizer. The Hippo Spirit then set sail for Singapore and anchored off the Malacca Strait, where it appeared to became the Seiyo Explorer, before returning to Sri Lanka.

1996-built, Panama-flagged, 20,398 gt Hippo Spirit is owned and managed by Hippo Spirit Shipping Ltd of Majuro, Marshall Islands. ISM manager is Hippo Reliance Shipping Ltd. Of Hong Kong, China.